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New housing proposals meet with resistance from their neighbors

Original post made on Oct 26, 2021

Two proposals for new housing in north and south Palo Alto neighborhoods reflect both promising and worrying trends, according to supporters and detractors of the residential projects.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 25, 2021, 11:58 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Jay
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 26, 2021 at 10:58 am

Jay is a registered user.

I don't think Nimby's will every allow better housing in Palo Alto. Why does the City Council even bother with all this is beyond me. People should stay away from this toxic place.


Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2021 at 4:38 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@ Jay
Better housing for whom? Just stop talking about affordable housing unless you share what that term means to you. Former CC members were duped/conned by developers who disguised themselves as having a tinge of altruism in them. The CC at that time covered for the developers by creating “workforce housing”. I detected a bad smell when it was introduced. It had a loose, but intriguing, definition. I knew it was for the techie dreamers, coding elbow to elbow all day with the hope their company would go public and they would become instant millionaires. So here we are today. The AltaLocale units (studios and 1 bdrm apartments) renting in the range of $3,368-$4,858 per month. That translates into $40,416-$58,296 per year. Apparently elementary school teachers in PA weren’t considered as part of the workforce. The current average base salary of those teachers is $70,346 per year. After taxes that comes out to $52,090 per year.

So, my big question to you, smart guy, “What do you think the rents for those units in the University Ave proposal or the Amarillo Ave teardown and build back up proposal will be?” C’mon admit it, you don’t have a clue, but my guess is that it will be out of the range of the teachers I mentioned above or any of our faithful day workers who serve us everyday and in so many ways…restaurant workers, gardeners, house cleaners, salon workers, and home care providers.

It’s always interesting how we get advice from residents of our neighbor city to the south of us.


Posted by Carol Scott
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 26, 2021 at 5:36 pm

Carol Scott is a registered user.

I would like to inform Council Member Burt that Palo Alto does not have "two downtowns." It has one downtown area and a 3 block commercial area along California Ave that used to be a neighborhood shopping area. Now, the latter is a food court for the affluent office workers that may or may not return to the area.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2021 at 7:25 am

Annette is a registered user.

Gale Johnson: if the option still existed I would LIKE your comment.

Editor: please revive the LIKE button. If abuse of the feature contributed to the decision to remove it, surely in the birthplace of Silicon Valley there's a tech genius who can write a code that disallows multiple likes from the same user. There are some very thoughtful, knowledgeable contributors to this forum (Gale Johnson, Allen Akin, and Pat Burt come immediately to mind) and I think it helpful to the discussion of thorny issues to see which comments and positions are well supported.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2021 at 9:51 am

Online Name is a registered user.

I LIKE what Annette said above.


Posted by Amie
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 27, 2021 at 1:34 pm

Amie is a registered user.

Hooray for 660 University Avenue. I would support doubling the units and halving the parking -- and I can say that since I live two blocks away. I want more neighbors in apartment housing that will use services and transit downtown and support our local retail to make it strong and thriving again.


Posted by Joe
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 27, 2021 at 2:51 pm

Joe is a registered user.

"Because housing demand exceeds supply, the rent is too damn high. Therefore if you build new housing, it will just have high rent too, defeating the purpose!" - boomer economics apparently


Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 27, 2021 at 7:49 pm

merry is a registered user.

Yes please reinstall like button!


Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2021 at 9:16 pm

eileen is a registered user.

I agree with Annette. The like button is an important feature on Nextdoor. All the brilliant engineers at Nextdoor should be able to find a solution!


Posted by Andy
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 28, 2021 at 7:39 am

Andy is a registered user.

these developments should be taller, more housing, more interior or underground parking and more mixed use.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 29, 2021 at 9:10 am

Annette is a registered user.

Joe: I'm not en economist, but I am certain it wasn't a Boomer who originated the law of supply and demand. Gale Johnson is right about the pricing of so-called workforce housing. And the paucity of affordable housing for people with community-serving jobs. We (as in past development-friendly City Councils) skewered ourselves on this issue when we over-approved commercial development without mitigating that development with a housing requirement or at least a significant contribution. The likelihood that supply will ever match demand is slim. The new work-from-home dynamic helps, but we were so far out of whack before Covid that even with the work-from-home shift we will likely be having this discussion for decades. Meanwhile, we have to figure out a way to behave like a community.


Posted by JB
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 30, 2021 at 7:08 pm

JB is a registered user.

I know that developers say that they need to include office space to offset housing in these developments, but we sure don't need more than 9000 square feet of new office space in Palo Alto, just to build 70 housing units. This office space may not even be needed. If it's filled, it will only bring more office workers and their cars to Palo Alto. Will the parking lot be big enough? I see some pretty big traffic problems with cars from the parking lot exiting onto already busy Middlefield Road at this busy intersection. So, no, I don't support this building plan.

I don't see why Palo Alto needs to destroy four rental cottages for the Amarillo development. I'm pretty sure that the new rental units will cost much more than the cottages do now.

I can't believe that the Alta Locale complex at the corner of Page Mill and El Camino will charge between $3368 and $4858 for studios and one bedroom apartments. This is in no way an example of affordable housing. I thought this was supposed to be tiny units for people who don't need cars to get to California Avenue. This is such a disappointing outcome.


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